Creativity, immersive experiences and the digital economy ruled the chatter at last week’s Adobe Summit 2022 digital experience conference.
The San Jose, Calif.-based digital customer experience software provider unveiled new products and enhancements to existing products under its Adobe Experience Cloud and other suites at its Summit, held virtually for the third straight year due to COVID-19.
But the big takeaway for some? Empowerment of creatives in a digitally-transformed world accelerated the past two years by a pandemic that kept people in their homes counting on digital experiences for goods and services.
“One of the big takeaways for me was the connection between the creator economy and the growth of the digital economy,” said Ross Quintana, creative director at Social Magnets.
“The future is digital, and therefore it resides in the minds of the creators. The demand for creative work is higher than ever, and it is about to go through even more explosive growth as we enter the next phase of the digital age.”
Adobe Launches Sensei, CDP Updates
Software giant Adobe makes money in three categories: digital media (73% of revenue), digital experience (24%) and publishing and advertising (3%), according to Adobe's latest annual filing. Marketers and customer experience professionals use software tools in the digital experience category to support digital customer experiences.
On that front, Adobe made several announcements, according to Steve Hammond, VP, Experience Cloud and Adobe Workfront, who caught up with CMSWire during last week’s virtual summit. Hammond said Adobe made a number of key product announcements, including:
- An integration of its real-time CDP (customer data platform) with Adobe Target, enabling brands to personalize web experiences
- AI innovations powered by Adobe’s AI engine, Sensei, that allow businesses to personalize content, predict revenue and customer behavior and put data into actionable insights
- Deeper investment in the healthcare vertical, with the goal of helping healthcare enterprises design and deliver more personalized digital experiences
- Cloud-based learning platform, Adobe Learning Manager, for creating new and engaging digital learning experiences for customers, partners and employees
- New partnerships including The Weather Company, an IBM business to personalize digital experiences with weather data, OneTrust to help brands manage user consent and Anaplan to combine financial planning and marketing workflows for on-time and on-budget campaign execution
- Partnerships with Walmart, FedEx and PayPal enable brands to give consumers more payment and delivery options, and Adobe Experience Cloud’s customer experience management capabilities are supported by a global ecosystem of over 300 Adobe Experience Platform partner integrations
- Update in Workfront with new capabilities and integrations with other Adobe applications that allow teams to work in a unified workflow, including enhanced integrations with Adobe Creative Cloud, asset management capabilities with Adobe Experience Manager Assets Essentials and Adobe Acrobat Sign connector
- Financial planning capabilities within Workfront to manage budgets and enable work management
"If we could theme this Summit, it would be called the Celebration of Integration," said Liz Miller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research. "This was about bringing important connections across the WORK of marketing and not just introductions of integrations of technology."
Miller cited Workfront, Creative Cloud express and Adobe Experience Manager Assets tools as examples. Marketers are used to seeing integrations of acquired solutions, she added; last year would have been the year of Marketo and Magento/Commerce integrations, and the year that gave birth to a lot of CDPs.
"But," she added, "this was about integrations in the service of how the engagement value chain works as opposed to how the platform integrates its new toys. What I do, and will always want more of, is the whole Adobe story coming through loud and clear. We tend to hear a lot about the two separate clouds, which has been really important for the growth to date of Adobe. But to continue to be the big engagement gorilla in the room, they need to unapologetically bang the drum that is the whole Adobe story that can facilitate experience strategy and the success of engagement from that first doodle on a napkin all the way through to the rinse-and-repeat reality of engagement deployment."
Investment in 'Digital Economy'
Hammond said Adobe Summit 2022 took place two years into the pandemic. The last in-person Adobe Summit was in 2019. The digital economy is more important than ever, Hammond added, and brands can succeed by creating powerful digital experiences that can be personalized to millions in milliseconds.
This was one of the most-discussed topics at Summit, he added, citing a comment from Anil Chakravarthy, president, Digital Experience Business at Adobe: “Customer experiences and seamless journeys – built on insights, data and compelling content – are what make the digital economy personal.”
“Implementing and scaling personalized experiences in the digital economy was clearly one of the key themes, but an event this big had many others as well,” Hammond added. “This included creating seamless customer journeys, mastering content velocity and utilizing the power of business-changing insights.”
Where AI Meets Weather in Adobe-IBM Partnership
Sheri Bachstein, CEO of The Weather Company and GM of IBM Watson Advertising, told CMSWire the IBM-Adobe partnership extension reinforces the market’s desire for access to privacy-forward data that can enrich a brand’s understanding of consumers while providing a more personalized web-based experience.
Users can get AI-driven insights on the impact of weather on shopping behaviors across verticals like retail, healthcare, travel, hospitality and consumer packaged goods.
“Weather can impact nearly every aspect of a consumer’s life, and by helping brands tap into this proven predictor of behavior, together IBM and Adobe are working to build a digital economy that puts the consumer first,” Bachstein said. “We look forward to ushering in the next era of a personalized consumer experience across the open web.”
'Holy Grail of Digital Marketing'
Joan Smith, global leader at Protiviti Digital, a sponsor at the Adobe Summit, told CMSWire that connectivity of the platform was a key message at the Summit echoed throughout many of the sessions and the conference as a whole.
The inter-connectivity between the platform – data, content, channel, workflow/orchestration – to enable the ability to innovate and actualize customer experiences as "real," along with integrated data and reporting, provides the long-desired ability to activate on powerful, integrated insights, according to Smith. She calls this the "holy grail of digital marketing."
“Both speakers and Adobe’s product roadmap innovations revealed themes across the intersections of digital and physical, content intelligence (i.e. developing content and experiences to 'create' data to drive adaptive insights), digital as a business (even in regulated industries) and the bond between technology, data and experience,” Smith said.
“Adobe’s approach to putting necessary components into the hands of the business to enable insight-driven decision-making and practical actions in the moment is one of their strengths, and what they revealed at this year’s Summit was no exception.”
What’s Next for Adobe?
The metaverse and other immersive experiences are becoming a major focus for brands, according to Adobe’s Hammond. Adobe launched Adobe Substance 3D Modeler in beta which makes 3D creation and sharing accessible.
Adobe also revealed a bevy of its latest innovations during the “Sneaks” event, which showcases projects submitted by employees that demonstrate new ways technology can be used to create personalized experiences. This year’s projects included using AI to better anticipate customer needs, leveraging augmented reality to deliver engaging personalized experiences and harnessing the power of Adobe Experience Cloud to deliver more interactive and accessible customer experiences.
“Adobe also continues to prioritize innovation within its key offerings,” Hammond said, “such as its real-time CDP offering and AI Sensei to help drive smarter, personalized experiences in the digital economy.”